Skip to main content

Full text of "Theodore Roosevelt"

See other formats


p 

JH 
I 





UAbt 
B 



V 



/ 




/^AT^-O ^ 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 



BY 



HENRY CABOT LODGE 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

MCMXIX 




FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE 
COPIES OF THIS BOOK WERE PRINTED 
AT THE RIVERSIDE PRESS AT CAM 
BRIDGE, IN MARCH, 1919, OF WHICH 
FIVE HUNDRED, AUTOGRAPHED BY 
THE AUTHOR, ARE FOR SALE. 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT* A MEMORIAL 

A tower is fallen, a star is set ! Alas ! Alas ! for Celin. 

The words of lamentation from the old Moorish baL 
lad, which in boyhood we used to recite, must, I think, 
have risen to many lips when the world was told that 
Theodore Roosevelt was dead. But whatever the 
phrase the thought was instant and everywhere. Va- 
riously expressed, you heard it in the crowds about 
the bulletin boards, from the man in the street and 
the man on the railroads, from the farmer in the 
fields, the women in the shops, in the factories, and in 
the homes. The pulpit found in his life a text for 
sermons. The judge on the bench, the child at school, 
alike paused for a moment, conscious of a loss. The 
cry of sorrow came from men and women of all con^ 
ditions,high and low, rich and poor, from the learned 
and the ignorant, from the multitude who had loved 
and followed him, and from those who had opposed 
and resisted him. The newspapers pushed aside the ab^ 
sorbing reports of the events of these fateful days and 
gave pages to the man who had died. Flashed beneath 
the ocean and through the air went the announcement 
of his death, and back came a world-wide response 
from courts and cabinets, from press and people, in 
other and far^distant lands. Through it all ran agolcU 
en thread of personal feeling which gleams so rare^ 
ly in the sombre formalism of public grief. Every 
where the people felt in their hearts that 

A power was passing from the Earth 
To breathless Nature s dark abyss. 



M13439V 



4 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

It would seem that here was a man, a private citi- 
zen, conspicuous by no office, with no glitter of pow- 
er about him, no ability to reward or punish, gone 
from the earthly life, who must have been unusual 
even among the leaders of men, and who thus de^ 
mands our serious consideration. 

This is a thought to be borne in mind to-day. 
\Ve meet to render honor to the dead, to the great 
American whom we mourn. But there is something 
more to be done. We must remember that when His 
tory, with steady hand and calm eyes, free from the 
passions of the past, comes to make up the final ac 
count, she will call as her principal witnesses the con 
temporaries of the man or the event awaiting her ver 
dict. Here and elsewhere the men and women who 
knew Theodore Roosevelt or who belong to his pe 
riod will give public utterance to their emotions and 
to their judgments in regard to him. This will be part 
of the record to which the historian will turn when 
our living present has become the past, of which it is 
his duty to write. Thus is there a responsibility placed 
upon each one of us who will clearly realize that here, 
too, is a duty to posterity, whom we would fain guide 
to the truth as we see it, and to whose hands we com 
mit our share in the history of our beloved country 
that history so much of which was made under his 
leadership. 

We cannot approach Theodore Roosevelt along 
the beaten paths of eulogy or satisfy ourselves with 
the empty civilities of common place funereal tributes, 
for he did not make his life journey over main -trav 
elled roads, nor was he ever commonplace. Cold and 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 5 

pompous formalities would be unsuited to him who 
was devoid of affectation, who was never self-con- 
scious,and to whom posturing to draw the public gaze 
seemed not only repellent but vulgar. He had that en- 
tire simplicity of manners and modes of life which is 
the crowning result of the highest culture and the finest 
nature. Like Cromwell, he would always have said: 
"Paint me as I am/ In that spirit, in his spirit of de- 
votionto truth s simplicity, I shall try to speak of him 
to-day in the presence of the representatives of the 
great Government of which he was for seven years 
the head. 

The rise of any man from humble or still more 
from sordid beginnings to the heights of success al- 
ways and naturally appeals strongly to the imagina 
tion. It furnishes a vivid contrast which is as much 
admired as it is readily understood. It still retains the 
wonder which such success awakened in the days of 
hereditary lawgivers and high privileges of birth. 
Fortune and birth, however, mean much less now 
than two centuries ago. To climb from the place of 
a printer s boy to the highest rank in science, politics, 
and diplomacy would be far easier to-day than in the 
eighteenth century, given a genius like Franklin to 
do it. Moreover, the real marvel is in the soaring 
achievement itself, no matter what the origin of the 
man who comes by " the people s unbought grace to 
rule his native land," and who on descending from 
the official pinnacle still leads and influences thou- 
sands upon thousands of his fellow men. 

Theodore Roosevelt had the good fortune to be 
born of a well-known, long-established family, with 



6 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

every facility for education and with an atmosphere 
of patriotism and disinterested service both to coun- 
try and humanity all about him. In his father he had 
before him an example of lofty public spirit, from 
which it would have been difficult to depart. But if 
the work of his ancestors relieved him from the hard 
struggle which meets an unaided man at the outset, 
he also lacked the spur of necessity to prick the sides 
of his intent, in itself no small loss. As a balance to the 
opportunity which was his without labor, he had not 
only the later difficulties which come to him to whom 
fate had been kind at the start ; he had also spread 
before him the temptations inseparable from such 
inherited advantages as fell to his lot temptations 
to a life of sports and pleasure, to lettered ease, to an 
amateur s career in one of the fine arts, perhaps to 
a money-making business, likewise an inheritance, 
none of them easily to be set aside to obedience to 
the stern rule that the larger and more facile the 
opportunity the greater and more insistent the respon 
sibility. How he refused to tread the pleasant paths 
that opened to him on all sides and took the instant 
way which led over the rough road of toil and action, 
his life discloses. 

At the beginning, moreover, he had physical diffix 
culties not lightly to be overcome. He was a delicate 
child, suffering acutely from attacks of asthma. He 
was not a strong boy, was retiring, fond of books, and 
with an intense but solitary devotion to natural his 
tory. As his health gradually improved, he became 
possessed by the belief, although he perhaps did not 
then formulate it, that in the fields of active life a man 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 7 

could do that which he willed to do; and this faith was 
with him to the end. It became very evident when he 
went to Harvard. He made himself an athlete by sheer 
hard work. Hampered by extreme near-sightedness, 
he became none the less a formidable boxer and an 
excellent shot. He stood high in scholarship, but as 
he worked hard, so he played hard, and was popular 
in the university and beloved by his friends. For a 
shy and delicate boy all this meant solid achievement, 
as well as unusual determination and force of will. 
Apparently he took early to heart and carried out to 
fulfilment the noble lines of Clough s Dipsychus: 

In light things 

Prove thou the arms thou long st to glorify, 
Nor fear to work up from the lowest ranks 
Whence come great Nature s Captains. And high deeds 
Haunt not the fringy edges of the fight, 
But the pell-mell of men. 

When a young man comes out of college he de- 
scends suddenly from the highest place in a lit tie world 
to a very obscure corner in a great one. It is something 
of a shock, and there is apt to be a chill in the air. 
Unless theyoung man s life has been planned before 
hand and a place provided for him by others, which 
is exceptional, or unless he is fortunate in a strong 
and dominating purpose or talent which drives him 
to science or art or some particular profession, he finds 
himself at this period pausing and wondering where 
he can get a grip upon the vast and confused world 
into which he has been plunged. 

It is a trying and only too frequently a dishearten 
ing experience, this looking for a career, this effort to 



8 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

find employment in ahugeand hurryingcrowd which 
appears to have no use for the newcomer. Roosevelt, 
thus cast forth on his own resources, his father, so be^ 
loved by him, having died two years before, fell to 
work at once, turning to the study of the law, which 
he did not like, and to the completion of a history of 
the War of 1 8 1 2 which he had begun while still in 
college. With few exceptions, young beginners in the 
difficult art of writing are either too exuberant or too 
dry. Roosevelt said that his book was as dry as an 
encyclopaedia, thus erring in precisely the direction 
one would not have expected. The book, be it said, was 
by no means so dry as he thought it, and it had some 
other admirable qualities. It was clear and thorough, 
and the battles by sea and land, especially the former, 
which involved the armaments and crews, the size and 
speed of the ships engaged in the famous frigate and 
sloop actions, of which we won eleven out of thirteen, 
were given with a minute accuracy never before at 
tempted in the accounts of this war, and which made 
the book an authority, a position it holds to this day. 
This was agooddeal of sound work for a boy s first 
year out of college. But it did not content Roosevelt. 
Inherited influences and inborn desires made him ear^ 
nest and eager to render some public service. In pur^ 
suit of this aspiration he joined the Twenty first As^ 
sembly District Republican Association of the city of 
New York, for by such machinery all politics were 
carried on in thosedays. It was not an association conv 
posed of his normal friends; in fact, the members were 
not only eminently practical persons, but they were 
inclined to be rough in their methods. They were not 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 9 

dreamers, nor were they laboring under many illu 
sions. Roosevelt went among them a complete stran 
ger. He differed from them with en tire frankness, con 
cealed nothing, and by his strong and simple demo 
cratic ways, his intense Americanism, and the magical 
personal attraction which went with him to the end, 
made some devoted friends. One of the younger lead 
ers, "Joe" Murray, believed in him, became especially 
attached to him, and so continued until death separated 
them. Through Murray s efforts he was elected to the 
New York Assembly in 1881, and thus only one 
year after leaving college his public career began. He 
was just twenty-three. 

Very few men make an effective State reputation 
in their first year in the lower branch of the State legis 
lature. I never happened to hear of one who made a na 
tional reputation in such a body. Roosevelt did both. 
When he left the assembly after three years service he 
was a national figure, well known, and of real impor 
tance, and also a delegate at large from the great State of 
New York to the Republican national convention of 
i 8 84, where he played a leading part. Energy, ability, 
and the most entire courage were the secret of his extra 
ordinary success. It was a time of flagrant corporate 
influence in the New York Legislature, of the "Black 
Horse Cavalry ," of a group of members who made 
money by sustaining corporation measures or by levy 
ing on corporations and capital through the familiar 
artifice of "strike bills." Roosevelt attacked them all 
openly and aggressively and never silently or quietly. 
He fought for the impeachment of a judge solely be 
cause he believed the judge corrupt, which surprised 



10 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

some of his political associates of both parties, there 
being, as one practical thinker observed, "no politics in 
politics/ He failed to secure the impeachment, but the 
fight did not fail, nor did the people forget it; and de- 
spite perhaps because of the enemies he made, he 
was twice re-elected. He became at the same time a 
distinct, well-defined figure to the American people. 
He had touched the popular imagination. In this way 
he performed the unexampled feat of leaving the New 
York Assembly, which he had entered three years be 
fore an unknown boy, with a national reputation and 
with his name at least known throughout the United 
States. He was twenty-six years old. 

\Vhen he left Chicago at the close of the national 
convention in June, j 8 84, he did not return to New 
York, but went West to the Bad Lands of the Little 
Missouri Valley, where he had purchased a ranch in 
the previous year. The early love of natural history 
which never abated had developed into a passion for 
hunting and for life in the open. He had begun in the 
wilds of Maine and then turned to theWest and to a 
cattle ranch to gratify both tastes. The life appealed to 
him and became to love it. He herded and rounded up 
his cattle, he worked as a cow-puncher, only rather 
harder than any of them, and in the intervals he hunted 
and shot big game. He alsocame in contact with men of 
a new type, rough, sometimes dangerous, but always 
vigorous and often picturesque .With them he had the 
same success as with the practical politicians of the 
Twenty-first Assembly District, although they were 
widely different specimens of mankind. But all alike 
were human at bottom and so was Roosevelt. He ar- 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT n 

gued with them, rode with them, camped with them, 
played and joked with them, but was always master 
of his outfit. They respected him and also liked him, 
because he was at all times simple, straightforward, 
outspoken, and sincere. He became apopularand well 
known figure in that Western country and was regard 
ed as a good fellow, a "white man," entirely fearless, 
thoroughly good-natured and kind, never quarrel- 
some, and never safe to trifle with, bully, or threaten. 
The life and experiences of that time found their way 
into a book, "The Hunting Trips of a Ranchman/ 
interesting in description and adventure and also 
showing marked literary quality. 

In 18 86 he ran as Republican candidate for mayor 
of New York and might have been elected had his 
own party stood by him. But many excellent men of 
Republican faith the "timid good" as he called 
them panic-stricken by the formidable candidacy 
of Henry George, flocked to the support of Mr. Abram 
Hewitt, the Democratic candidate, as the man most 
certain to defeat the menacing champion of single tax- 
ation. Roosevelt was beaten, but his campaign, which 
wasentirely his own and the precursor of many others, 
his speeches with their striking quality then visible to 
the country for the first time, all combined to fix the 
attention of the people upon the man who had lost 
the election. Roosevelt was the one of the candidates 
who was most interesting, and again he had touched 
the imagination of the people and cut a little deeper 
into the popular consciousness and memory. 

Two years more of private life, devoted to his home, 
where his greatest happiness was always found, to his 



12 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

ranch, to reading and writing books, and then came 
an active part in the campaign of 1888, resulting in 
the election of President Harrison, who made him 
Civil-Service Commissioner in the spring of 1889. 
He was in his thirty-first year. Civil-service reform 
as a practical question was then in its initial stages. 
The law establishing it, limited in extent and forced 
through by a few leaders of both parties in the Sen 
ate, was only six years old. The promoters of the re 
form, strong in quality, but weak in numbers, had 
compelled a reluctant acceptance of the law by exer 
cising a balance-of-power vote in certain States and 
districts. It had few earnest supporters in Congress, 
some lukewarm friends, and many strong opponents. 
All the active politicians were practically against it. 
Mr. Conkling had said that when Dr. Johnson told 
Boswell " that patriotism was the last refuge of a 
scoundrel," he was ignorant of the possibilities of the 
word " reform," and this witticism met with a large 
response. 

Civil-service reform, meaning the establishment of 
a classified service and the removal of routine admin 
istrative offices from politics, had not reached the 
masses of the people at all. The average voter knew 
and cared nothing about it. When six years later 
Roosevelt resigned from the commission the great 
body of the people knew well what civil-service re 
form meant, large bodies of voters cared a great deal 
about it, and it was established and spreading its con 
trol. We have had many excellent men who have 
done good work in the Civil-Service Commission, al 
though that work is neither adventurous nor exciting 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 13 

and rarely at tracts public attention, but no onehas ever 
forgotten that Theodore Roosevelt was once Civil- 
Service Commissioner. 

He found thelaw strugglingfor existence, laughed 
at, sneered at, surrounded by enemies in Congress, and 
with but few fighting friends. He threw himself into 
the fray. Congress investigated the commission about 
once a year, which was exactly what Roosevelt de 
sired. Annually, too, the opponents of the reform 
would try to defeat the appropriation for the commis 
sion, and this again was playing into Roosevelt s 
hands, for it led to debates, and the newspapers as a 
rule sustained the reform. Senator Gorman mourned 
in the Senate over the cruel fate of a "bright young 
man " who was unable to tell on examination the dis 
tance of Baltimore from China, and thus was deprived 
of his inalienable right to serve his country in the post- 
office. Roosevelt proved that no such question had 
ever been asked and requested the name of the "bright 
young man." The name was not forthcoming, and 
the victim of a question never asked goes down name 
less to posterity in the Congressional Record as merely 
a "bright young man." Then General Grosvenor, a 
leading Republican of the House, denounced the com 
missioner for crediting his district with an appointee 
named Rufus Putnam who was not a resident of the 
district, and Roosevelt produced aletter from the gen 
eral recommending Rufus Putnam as a resident of 
his district and a constituent. All this was unusual. 
Hitherto it had been a safe amusement to ridicule and 
jeer at civil-service reform, and here was a commis 
sioner who dared to reply vigorously to attacks, and 



14 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

even to prove Senators and Congressmen to be wrong 
in their facts. The amusement of baiting the Civil" 
Service Commission seemed to be less inviting than be- 
fore, and, worse still, the entertaining features seemed 
to have passed to the public, who enjoyed and approved 
the commissioner who disregarded etiquette and fought 
hard for the law he was appointed to enforce. The law 
suddenly took on new meaning and became clearly 
visible in the public mind, a great service to the cause 
of good government. 

After six years service in the Civil-Service Conv 
mission Roosevelt left Washington to accept the posi 
tion of president of the Board of Police Commission- 
ers of the city of New York, which had been offered 
to him by Mayor Strong. It is speaking within bounds 
to say that the history of the police force of New 
York has been a checkered one in which the black 
squares have tended to predominate. The task which 
Roosevelt confronted was then, as always, difficult, 
and the machinery of four commissioners and a prac- 
tically irremovable chief made action extremely slow 
and uncertain. Roosevelt set himself to expel politics 
and favoritism in appointments and promotions and 
to crush corruption everywhere. In some way he 
drove through the obstacles and effected great im 
provements, although permanent betterment was 
perhaps impossible. Good men were appointed and 
meritorious men promoted as never before, while the 
corrupt and dangerous officers were punished in a 
number of instances sufficient, at least, to check and 
discourage evildoers. Discipline was improved, and 
the force became very loyal to the Chief Commis- 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 15 

sioner, because they learned to realize that he was 
fighting for right and justice without fear or favor. 
The results were also shown in the marked decrease 
of crime, which judges pointed out from the bench. 
Then, too, it was to be observed that a New York Po 
lice Commissioner suddenly attracted the attention 
of the country. The work which was being done by 
Roosevelt in New York, his midnight walks through 
the worst quarters of the great city, to see whether the 
guardians of the peace did their duty, which made the 
newspapers compare him to Haroun Al Raschid, all 
appealed to the popular imagination. A purely local 
office became national in his hands, and his picture 
appeared in the shops of European cities. There was 
something more than vigor and picturesqueness nec- 
essary to explain these phenomena. The truth is that 
Roosevelt was really laboring through a welter of de 
tails to carry out certain general principles which went 
to the very roots of society and government. He 
wished the municipal administration to be something 
far greater than a business man s administration, 
which was the demand that had triumphed at the 
polls. He wanted to make it an administration of 
the workingmen, of the dwellers in the tenements, of 
the poverty and suffering which haunted the back 
streets and hidden purlieus of the huge city. The peo 
ple did not formulate these purposes as they watched 
what he was doing, but they felt them and understood 
them by that instinct which is often so keen in vast 
bodies of men. The man who was toiling in the seem 
ing obscurity of the New York Police Commission 
again became very distinct to his fellow countrymen 



16 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

and deepened their consciousness of his existence and 
their comprehension of his purposes and aspirations. 

Striking as was the effect of this police work, it only 
lasted for two years. In 1 8 9 7 he was offered by Presi- 
dent McKinley , whom he had energetically supported 
in the preceding campaign, the position of Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy. He accepted at once, for the 
place and the work both appealed to him most 
strongly. The opportunity did not come without re- 
sistance. The President, an old friend, liked him and 
believed in him, but the Secretary of the Navy had 
doubts, and also fears that Roosevelt might be a dis- 
turbing and restless assistant. There were many poli 
ticians, too, especially in his own State, whom his 
activities as Civil-Service Police Commissioner did 
not delight, and these men opposed him. But his 
friends were powerful and devoted, and the President 
appointed him. 

His new place had to him a peculiar attraction. He 
loved the Navy. He had written its brilliant history 
in the \Var of i 812. He had done all in his power 
in stimulating public opinion to support the "new 
Navy" we were just then beginning to build. That 
war was coming with Spain he had no doubt. We 
were unprepared, of course, even for such a war as this, 
but Roosevelt set himself to do what could be done. 
The best and most far-seeing officers rallied round him, 
but the opportunities were limited. There was much 
in detail accomplished which cannot be described here, 
but two acts of his which had very distinct effect upon 
the fortunes of the war must be noted. He saw very 
plainly although most people never perceived it at 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 17 

all that the Philippines would be a vital point in 
any war with Spain. For this reason it was highly 
important to have the right man in command of the 
Asiatic Squadron. Roosevelt was satisfied that Dewey 
was the right man, and that his rival was not. He set to 
work to secure the place for Dewey. Through the aid 
of the Senators from Dewey s native State and oth- 
ers, he succeeded. Dewey was ordered to the Asiatic 
Squadron. Our relations with Spain grew worse and 
worse. On February 2 5, 1 89 8, war was drawing very 
near, and that Saturday afternoon Roosevelt hap 
pened to be Acting Secretary, and sent out the follow- 
ing cablegram : 

Dewey Hongkong. 

Order the squadron, except the Monocacy, to Hongkong. 
Keep full of coal. In the event of declaration of war, Spain, your 
duty will be to see that the Spanish Squadron does not leave the 
Asiatic coast, and then offensive operations in the Philippine Is 
lands. Keep Olympia until further orders. 

ROOSEVELT 

I believe he was never again permitted to be Act 
ing Secretary. But the deed was done. The wise word 
of readiness had been spoken and was not recalled. 
\Var came, and as April closed, Dewey, all prepared, 
slipped out of Hongkong and on May i st fought the 
battle of Manila Bay. 

Roosevelt, however, did not continue long in the 
Navy Department. Many of his friends felt that he 
was doing such admirable work there that he ought 
to remain, but as soon as war was declared he deter- 
mined to go, and his resolution was not to be shaken. 
Nothing could prevent his fighting for his country 



i8 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

when the country was at war. Congress had author 
ized three volunteer regiments of Cavalry, and the 
President and the Secretary of War gave to Leonard 
Wood then a surgeon in the Regular Army as 
colonel, and to Theodore Roosevelt, as lieutenant^ 
colonel, authority to raise one of these regiments, 
known officially as the First United States Volun- 
teer Cavalry, and to all the country as the "Rough 
Riders/* The regimen t was raised chiefly in the South 
west and West, where Roosevelt s popularity and rep 
utation among thecowboys and the ranchmen brought 
many eager recruits to serve with him. After the regi- 
ment had been organized and equipped they had some 
difficulty in getting to Cuba, but Roosevelt as usual 
broke through all obstacles, and finally succeeded, with 
Colonel Wood, in getting away with two battalions, 
leaving one battalion and the horses behind. 

The regiment got in to action immediately on land 
ing and forced its way, after some sharp fighting in 
the jungle, to the high ground on which were placed 
the fortifications which defended the approach to San- 
tiago. Colonel Wood was almost immediately given 
command of a brigade, and this left Roosevelt colonel 
of the regiment. In the battle which ensued and which 
resulted in the capture of the positions commanding 
Santiago and the bay, the Rough Riders took a lead 
ing part, storming one of the San Juan heights, which 
they christened Kettle Hill, with Roosevelt leading 
the men in person. It was a dashing, gallant assault, 
well led and thoroughly successful. Santiago fell after 
the defeat of the fleet, and then followed a period of 
sickness and suffering the latter due to unreadiness 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 19 

where Roosevelt did everything with his usual 
driving energy to save his men, whose loyalty to their 
colonel went with them through life. The war was 
soon over, but brief as it had been Roosevelt and his 
men had highly distinguished themselves, and he stood 
out in the popular imagination as one of theconspio 
uous figures of the conflict. He brought his regiment 
back to the United States, where they were mustered 
out, and almost immediately afterwards he was nonv 
inated by the Republicans as their candidate for Gov^ 
ernorof the State of New York. The situation in New 
York was unfavorable for the Republicans, and the 
younger men told Senator Platt,who dominated the 
organization and who had no desire for Roosevelt, 
that unless he was nominated they could not win. 
Thus forced, the organization accepted him, and it 
was well for the party that they did so. The campaign 
was a sharp one and very doubtful, but Roosevelt 
was elected by a narrow margin and assumed office 
at the beginning of the new year of 1899. He was 
then in his forty first year. 

Many problems faced him and none were evaded. 
He was well aware that the "organization" under 
SenatorPlatt would not like many things he was sure 
to do, but he determined that he would have neither 
personal quarrels nor faction fights. He knew, being 
blessed with strong common sense, that the Repub 
lican Party, his own party, was the instrument by 
which alone he could attain his ends, and he did not 
intend that it should be blunted and made useless by 
internal strife. And yet he meant to have his own way. 
It was a difficult role which he undertook to play, but 



20 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

he succeeded. He had many differences with the oi> 
ganization managers, but he declined to lose his tenv 
per or to have abreak, and he also refused to yield when 
he was standing for the right and a principle was at 
stake. Thus he prevailed. He won on the canal ques^ 
tion, changed the Insurance Commissioner, and car 
ried the insurance legislation he desired. As in these 
cases, so it was in lesser things. In the Police Commis 
sion he had been strongly impressed by the dangers 
as he saw them of the undue and often sinister influ^ 
ence of business, finance, and great money interests 
upon government and politics. These feelings were 
deepened and broadened by his experience and obser- 
vationon the larger stage of State administration. The 
belief that political equality must be strengthened and 
sustained by industrial equality and a larger economic 
opportunity was constantly in his thoughts until it be- 
came a governing and guiding principle. 

Meantime he grew steadily stronger among the 
people, not only of his own State but of the country, 
for he was well known throughout the West, and there 
they were watching eagerly to see how the ranchman 
and colonel of Rough Riders, who had touched both 
their hearts and their imagination, was faring asGov 
ernor of New York. The office he held is always re- 
garded as related to the presidency, and this, joined to 
his striking success as Governor, brought him into the 
presidential field wherever men speculated about the 
political future. It was universally agreed that Me- 
Kinley was to berenominated, and so the talk turned 
to making Roosevelt Vice-President. A friend wrote 
to him in the summer of 1 8 9 9 as to this drift of opin- 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 21 

ion, then assuming serious proportions. "Do not at 
tempt," he said, " to thwart the popular desire. You are 
notamannorare your close friends men who can plan, 
arrange, and manage you into office. You must ac- 
cept the popular wish, whatever it is, follow your star, 
and let the future care for itself. It is the tradition of 
our politics, and a very poor tradition, that theVice- 
Presidency is a shelf. It ought to be, and there is no 
reason why it should not be, a stepping-stone. Put there 
by the popular desire, it would be so to you." This 
view, quite naturally, did not commend itself to Gov- 
ernor Roosevelt at the moment. He was doing valu- 
able work in New York; he was deeply engaged in 
important reforms which he had much at heart and 
which he wished to carry through ; and the Vice-Presi- 
dency did not at trac^him. A year later he was at Phila 
delphia, a delegate at large from his State, with his 
mind unchanged as to the Vice-Presidency, while his 
New York friends, anxious to have him continue his 
work at Albany, were urging him to refuse. Senator 
Platt, for obvious reasons, wished to make him Vice- 
President, another obstacle to his taking it. Roosevelt 
forced the New York delegation to agree on some one 
else for Vice-President, but he could not hold the con 
vention, nor could Senator Hanna, who wisely ac 
cepted the situation. Governor Roosevelt was nomi 
nated on the first ballot, all other candidates with 
drawing. He accepted the nomination, little as he 
liked it. 

Thus when it came to the point he instinctively fol 
lowed his star and grasped the unvacillating hand of 
destiny. Little did he think that destiny would lead 



22 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

him to the White House through a tragedy which cut 
him to the heart. He was on a mountain in the Adi 
rondacks when a guide made his way to him across 
the forest with a telegram telling him that McKinley, 
the wise, the kind, the gen tie, with nothing in his heart 
but goodwill to all men, was dying from a wound in 
flicted by an anarchist murderer, and that the Vice- 
President must come to Buffalo at once. A rapid night 
drive through the woods and a special train brought 
him to Buffalo. McKinley was dead before he arrived, 
and that evening Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in 
as President of the United States. 

Within the narrow limits of an address it is impos 
sible to give an account of an administration of seven 
years which will occupy hundreds of pages when the 
history of the United States during that period is writ 
ten. It was a memorable administration, memorable 
in itself and not by the accident of events, and large 
in its accomplishment. It began with a surprise. There 
were persons in the United States who had carefully 
cultivated, and many people who had accepted with 
out thought, the idea that Roosevelt was in some way 
a dangerous man. They gloomily predicted that there 
would be a violent change in the policies and in the 
officers of the McKinley administration. But Roose 
velt had not studied the history of his country in vain. 
He knew that in three of the four cases where Vice- 
Presidents had succeeded to the Presidency through 
the death of the elected President their coming had re 
sulted in a violent shifting of policies and men, and, 
as a consequence, in most injurious dissensions, which 
in two cases at least proved fatal to the party in power. 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 23 

In all four instances the final obliteration of the Vice- 
President who had reached the White House through 
the death of his chief was complete. President Roose 
velt did not intend to permit any of these results. As 
soon as he came into office he announced that he in 
tended to retain President McKinley s Cabinet and 
to carry out his policies, which had been sustained at 
the polls. To those over-zealous friends who suggested 
that he could not trust the appointees of President 
McKinley and that he would be but a pallid imitation 
of his predecessor, he replied that he thought, in any 
event, the administration would be his, and that if new 
occasions required new policies, he felt that he could 
meet them, and thatnoone would suspect him of being 
a pallid imitation of anybody. His decision, however, 
gratified and satisfied the country, and it was not ap 
parent that Roosevelt was hampered in any way in 
carrying out his own policies by this wise refusal to 
make sudden and violent changes. 

Those who were alarmed about what he might do 
had also suggested that with his combative propensities 
he was likely to involve the country in war. Yet there 
never has been an administration, as afterwards ap 
peared, when we were more perfectly at peace with all 
the world, nor were our foreign relations ever in danger 
of producing hostilities. But this was not due in the 
least to the adoption of a timid or yielding foreign pol 
icy ; on the contrary, it was owing to the firmness of the 
President in all foreign questions and the knowledge 
which other nations soon acquired that President 
Roosevelt was a man who never threatened unless he 
meant to carry out his threat, the result being that he 



24 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

was not obliged to threaten at all. One of his earliest 
successes was forcing the settlement of the Alaskan 
boundary question, which was the single open question 
with Great Britain that was really dangerous and con- 
tained within itself possibilities of war. The acconv 
plishment of this settlement was followed later, while 
Mr. Root was Secretary of State, by the arrangement 
of all our outstanding differences with Canada, and 
during Mr. Root s tenure of office over thirty treaties 
were made with different nations, including a nunv 
ber of practical and valuable treaties of arbitration. 
When Germany started to take ad vantage of the diffi- 
culties in Venezuela the affair culminated in the dis- 
patch of Dewey and the fleet to the Caribbean, the 
withdrawal of England at once, and the agreement 
of Germany to the reference of all subjects of differ 
ence to arbitration, It was President Roosevelt whose 
good offices brought Russia and Japan together in a 
negotiation which closed the war between those two 
powers. It was Roosevelt s influence which contrib- 
uted powerfully to settling the threatening controversy 
between Germany, France, and England in regard to 
Morocco, by the Algeciras Conference. It was Roose 
velt who sent the American fleet of battleships round 
the world, one of the most convincing peace move^ 
ments ever made on behalf of the United States. Thus 
it came to pass that this President, dreaded at the be 
ginning on account of his combative spirit, received 
the Nobel Prize in 1906 as the person who had con 
tributed most to the peace of the world in the pre 
ceding years, and his contribution was the result of 
strength and knowledge and not of weakness. 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 25 

At home he recommended to Congress legislation 
which was directed toward a larger control of the 
railroads and to removing the privileges and curbing 
the power of great business combinations obtained 
through rebates and preferential freight rates. This 
legislation led to opposition in Congress and to much 
resistance by those affected. As we look back, this 
legislation, so much contested at the time, seems very 
moderate, but it was none the less momentous. Presi 
dent Roosevelt never believed in Government owner 
ship, but he was thoroughly in favor of strong and 
effective Government supervision and regulation of 
what are now known generally as public utilities. He 
had a deep conviction that the political influence of 
financial and business interests and of great combina 
tions of capital had become so powerful that the Amer 
ican people were beginning to distrust their own Gov 
ernment, than which there could be no greater peril to 
the Republic. By his measures and by his general at 
titude toward capital and labor both he sought to re 
store and maintain the confidence of the people in the 
Government they had themselves created. 

In the Panama Canal he left the most enduring, as it 
was the most visible, monument of his administration. 
Much criticized at the moment for his action in regard 
to it, which time since then has justified and which his 
tory will praise, the great fact remains that the canal 
is there. He said himself that he made up his mind 
that it was his duty to establish the canal and have the 
debate about it afterwards, which seemed to him bet 
ter than to begin with indefinite debate and have no 
canal at all. This is a view which posterity both at 
home and abroad will accept and approve. 



26 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

These, passing over as we must in silence many 
other beneficent acts, are only a few of the most salient 
features of his administration, stripped of all detail 
and all enlargement. Despite the conflicts which some 
of his domestic policies had produced, not only with 
his political opponents, but within the Republican 
ranks, he was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1 9 04, and 
when the seven years had closed the country gave a 
like majority to his chosen successor, taken from his 
own Cabinet. On the 4th of March, 1 9 09, he returned 
to private life at the age of fifty, having been the young 
est President known to our history. 

During the brief vacations which he had been able 
to secure in the midst of the intense activities of his 
public life after the Spanish \Var he had turned for 
enjoyment to expeditions in pursuit of big game in 
the wildest andmost unsettled regionsof the country. 
Open-air life and all its accompanimentsof riding and 
hunting were to him the one thing that brought him 
the most rest and relaxation. Now, having left the 
Presidency, he was able to give full scope to the love of 
ad venture, which had been strong with him from boy 
hood. Soon after his retirement from office he went to 
Africa, accompanied by a scientific expedition sent out 
by the Smithsonian Institution. He landed in East 
Africa, made his way into the interior, and thence to 
the sources of the Nile, after a trip in every way suc 
cessful, both in exploration and in pursuit of big game. 
He then came down the Nile through Egypt and 
thence to Europe, and no private citizen of the United 
States probably no private man of any country 
was ever received in a manner comparable to 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 27 

that which met Roosevelt in every country in Europe 
which he visited. Everywhere it was the same in 
Italy, in Germany, in France, in England. Every honor 
was paid to him that authority could devise, acconv 
panied by every mark of affection and admiration 
which the people of those countries were able to show. 
He made few speeches while in Europe, but in those 
few he did not fail to give to the questions and thought 
of the time real and genuine contributions, set forth in 
plain language, always vigorous and often eloquent. 
He returned in the summer of 1 9 1 o to the United 
States and was greeted \vith a reception on his landing 
in New York quite equalling in interest and enthusi 
asm that which had been accorded to him in Europe. 
For two years afterwards he devoted himself to 
writing, not only articles as contributing editor of the 
" Outlook/ but books of his own and addresses and 
speeches which he was constantly called upon to make. 
No man in private life probably ever had such an audi 
ence as he addressed, whether with tongue orpen,upon 
the questions of the day, with a constant refrain as to 
the qualities necessary tomake men both good citizens 
and good Americans. In the springof 1 912 he decided 
to become a candidate for the Republican nomination 
for the Presidency, and a very heated struggle followed 
bet ween himself and President Taft for delegations to 
the convention. The convention when it assembled in 
Chicago was the stormiest ever known in our history. , 
President Taft was renominated, most of theRoose^ 
velt delegates refusing to vote, and a large body of Re^ 
publicans thereupon formed a new party called the 
" Progressive " and nominated Mr. Roosevelt as their 



28 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

candidate. This division in to two nearly equal parts of 
the Republican Party, which had elected Mr. Roose- 
velt and Mr.Taft in succession by the largest majori 
ties ever known, made the victory of the Democratic 
candidate absolutely certain. Colonel Roosevelt, how 
ever, stood second in the poll, receiving 4,1 19,507 
votes, carrying six States and winning eighty-eight 
electoral votes. There never has been in political his 
tory, when all conditions are considered, such an exhi 
bition of extraordinary personal strength. To have se 
cured eighty-eight electoral votes when his own party 
was hopelessly divided, with no great historic party 
name and tradition behind him, with an organiza 
tion which had to be hastily brought together in a few 
weeks, seems almost incredible, and in all his career 
there is no display of the strength of his hold upon the 
people equal to this. 

In the following year he yielded again to the longing 
for ad venture and exploration. Going to South Amer 
ica, he made his way up through Paraguay and west 
ern Brazil, and then across a trackless wilderness of 
jungle and down an unknown river into the Valley 
of the Amazon. It was a remarkable expedition and 
carried him through what is probaby the most deadly 
climate in the world. He suffered severely from the 
climatic fever, the poison of which never left him and 
which finally shortened his life. 

In the next year the Great War began, and Colonel 
Roosevelt threw himself into it with all the energy 
of his nature. With Major Gardner he led the great 
fight for preparedness in a country utterly unprepared. 
He saw very plainly that in all human probability it 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 29 

would be impossible for us to keep out of the war. 
Therefore in season and out of season he demanded 
that we should make ready. He and Major Gardner, 
with the others who joined them, roused a widespread 
and powerful sentiment in the country, but there was 
no practical effect upon the Army. The Navy was the 
single place where anything was really done, and that 
only in the bill of 1 9 1 6, so that war finally came upon 
us as unready as Roosevelt had feared we should be. 
Yet the campaign he made was not in vain, for in addi 
tion to the question of preparation he spoke earnestly 
of other things, other burning questions, and he always 
spoke to an enormous body of listeners everywhere. He 
would have had us protest and take action at the very 
beginning, in 1 9 1 4, when Belgium was invaded. He 
would have had us go to war when the murders of the 
Lusitania wereperpetrated. He tried to stir the soul and 
rouse the spirit of the American people, and despite 
every obstacle he did awaken them, so that when the 
hour came, in April, 1 9 1 7, a large proportion of the 
American people were even then ready in spirit and in 
hope. How telling his work had been was proved by the 
confession of his country s enemies, for when he died 
the only discordant note, the only harsh words, came 
from the German press. Germany knew whose voice 
it was that more powerfully than any other had called 
Americans to the battle in behalf of freedom and civi 
lization, where the advent of the armies of the Unit 
ed States gave victory to the cause of justice and right" 
eousness. 

When the United States went to war Colonel 
Roosevelt s one desire was to be allowed to go to the 



3 o THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

fighting line. There if fate had laid its hand upon him 
it would have found him glad to fall in the trenches 
or in a charge at the head of his men, but it was not 
permitted to him to go, and thus he was denied the 
reward which he would have ranked above all others, 
" the great prize of death in battle/ But he was a pa^ 
triot in every fibre of his being, and personal disap^ 
pointment in no manner slackened or cooled his zeal. 
Everything that he could do to forward the war, to 
quicken preparation, to stimulate patriotism, to urge 
on efficient action, was done. Day and night, in season 
and out of season, he never ceased his labors. Although 
prevented from going to France himself, he gave to 
the great conflict that which was far dearer to him 
than his own life. I cannot say that he sent his four 
sons, because they all went at once, as every one knew 
that their father s sons would go. Two have been badly 
wounded; one was killed. He met the blow with the 
most splendid and unflinching courage, met it as 
Siward, the Earl of Northumberland, receives in the 
play the news of his son s death : 

Siw. Had he his hurts before ? 

Ross. Ay, on the front. 

Siw. Why, then, God s soldier be he ! 
Had I as many sons as I have hairs, 
I would not wish them to a fairer death : 
And so his knell is knoll d. 

Among the great tragedies of Shakespeare, and 
there are none greater in all the literature of man, 
"Macbeth" was Colonel Roosevelt s favorite, and the 
moving words which I have just quoted I am sure were 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 31 

in his heart and on his lips when he faced with stern 
resolve and self-control the anguish brought to him 
by the death of his youngest boy, killed in the glory 
of a brave and brilliant youth. 

He lived to seethe right prevail; he lived to see civ 
ilization triumph over organized barbarism ; and there 
was great joy in his heart. In all his last days the 
thoughts which filled his mind were to secure a peace 
which should render Germany forever harmless and 
advance the cause of ordered freedom in every land 
and among every race. This occupied him to the ex 
clusion of everything else, except what he called and 
what we like to call Americanism. There was no hour 
down to the end when he would not turn aside from 
everything else to preach the doctrine of Americanism, 
of the principles and the faith upon which American 
government rested, and which all true Americans 
should wear in their heart of hearts. He was a great 
patriot, a great man ; above all, a great American. His 
country was the ruling, mastering passion of his life 
from the beginning even unto the end. 

So closes the inadequate, most incomplete account 
of a life full of work done and crowded with achieve 
ment, brief in years and prematurely ended. The reci 
tation of the offices which he held and of some of the 
deeds that he did is but a bare, imperfect catalogue into 
which history when we are gone will breathe a last 
ing life. Here to-day it is only a background, and that 
which most concerns us now is what the man was of 
whose deeds done it is possible to make such a list. 
What a man was is ever more important than what 
he did, because it is upon what he was that all his 



32 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

achievement depends and his value and meaning to 
his fellow men must finally rest. 

Theodore Roosevelt always believed that charao 
ter was of greater worth and moment than anything 
else. He possessed abilities of the first order, which 
he was disposed to underrate, because he set so much 
greater store upon the moral qualities which we bring 
together under the single word " character." 

Let me speak first of his abilities. He had a powerful, 
well-trained, ever-active mind. He thought clearly, 
independently, and with originality and imagination. 
These priceless gifts were sustained by an extraordi 
nary power of acquisition, joined to a greater quick 
ness of apprehension, a greater swiftness in seizing 
upon the essence of a question, than I have ever hap 
pened to see in any other man. His reading began with 
natural history, then went to general history, and 
thence to the whole field of literature. He had a capac 
ity for concentration which enabled him to read with 
remarkable rapidity anything which he took up, if 
only for a moment, and which separated him for the 
time being from everything going on about him. The 
subjects upon which he was well and widely informed 
would, if enumerated, fill a large space, and to this 
power of acquisition was united not only a tenacious 
but an extraordinarily accurate memory. It was never 
safe to contest with him on any question of fact or 
figures, whether they related to the ancient Assyrians 
or to the present-day conditions of the tribes of central 
Africa, to the Sy racusan Expedition, as told byThucy- 
dides, or to protective coloring in birds and animals. 
He knew and held details always at command, but he 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 33 

was not mastered by them. He never failed to see the 
forest on account of the trees or the city on account 
of the houses. 

He made himself a writer, not only of occasional 
addresses and essays, but of books. He had the trained 
thoroughness of the historian, as he showed in his his^ 
tory of the \Var of i 8 1 2 and of the " Winning of the 
West/ and nature had endowed him with that most 
enviable of gifts, the faculty of narrative and the art 
of the teller of tales. He knew how to weigh evidence 
in the historical scales and how to depict character. 
He learned to write with great ease and fluency. He 
was always vigorous, always energetic, always clear 
and forcible in everything he wrote nobody could 
ever misunderstand him and when he allowed him 
self time and his feelings were deeply engaged he gave 
to the world many pages of beauty as well as power, 
not only in thought but in form and style. In the 
same way he made himself a public speaker, and here 
again, through a practice probably unequalled in 
amount, he became one of the most effective in all our 
history. In speaking, as in writing, he was always full 
of force and energy; he drove home his arguments and 
never was misunderstood. In many of his more care^ 
fully prepared addresses are to be found passages of 
impressive eloquence, touched with imagination and 
instinct with grace and feeling. 

He had a large capacity for administration, clear ^ 
ness of vision, promptness in decision, and a thorough 
apprehension of what constituted efficient organiza^ 
tion. All the vast and varied work which he acconv 
plished could not have been done unless he had had 



34 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

most exceptional natural abilities, but behind them, 
most important of all, was the driving force of an in- 
tense energy and the ever-present belief that a man 
could do what he willed to do. As he made himself 
an athlete, a horseman, a good shot, a bold explorer, 
so he made himself an exceptionally successful writer 
and speaker. Only a most abnormal energy would 
have enabled him to enter and conquer in so many 
fields of intellectual achievement. But something more 
than energy and determination is needed for the larg- 
est success, especially in the world s high places. The 
first requisite of leadership is ability to lead, and that 
ability Theodore Roosevelt possessed in full meas 
ure. \Vhether in a game or in the hunting field, in a 
fight or in politics, he sought the front, where, as Web 
ster once remarked, there is always plenty of room for 
those who can get there. His instinct was always to 
say "come" rather than "go," and he had the talent 
of command. 

His also was the rare gift of arresting attention 
sharply and suddenly, a very precious attribute, and 
one easier to illustrate than to describe. This arresting 
power is like a common experience, which we have all 
had on entering apicture gallery, of seeing at once and 
before all others a single picture among the many on 
the walls. For a moment you see nothing else, al 
though you maybe surrounded with masterpieces. In 
that particular picture lurks a strange, capturing, grip 
ping fascination as impalpable as it is unmistakable. 
Roosevelt had this same arresting, fascinating qual 
ity. \Vhether in the Legislature at Albany, the Civil- 
Service Commission at Washington, or the Police 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 35 

Commission in New York, whether in the Spanish 
War or on the plains among the cowboys, he was al- 
ways vivid, at times startling, never to be overlooked. 
Nor did this power stop here. He not only without 
effort or intention drew the eager attention of the peo 
ple to himself, he could also engage and fix their 
thoughts upon anything which happened to interest 
him. It might be a man or a book, reformed spelling 
or some large historical question, his travelling library 
or the military preparation of the United States, he 
had but to say, "See how interesting, how important, 
is this man or this event," and thousands, even mil 
lions, of people would reply, "We never thought of 
this before, but it certainly is one of the most interest- 
ing, most absorbing things in the world." He touched 
a subject and it suddenly began to glow as when the 
high-power electric current touches the metal and the 
white light starts forth and dazzles the onlooking eyes. 
We know the air played by the Pied Piper of Ham- 
elin no better: than we know why Theodore Roose 
velt thus drew the interest of men after him. We only 
know they followed wherever his insatiable activity 
of mind invited them. 

Men follow also most readily a leader who is always 
there before them, clearly visible and just where they 
expect him. They are especially eager to go forward 
with a man who never sounds a retreat. Roosevelt was 
always advancing, always struggling to make things 
better, to carry some much-needed reform, and help 
humanity to a larger chance, to a fairer condition, to 
a happier life. Moreover, he looked always for an ethi 
cal question. He was at his best when he was fighting 



3 6 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

the battle of right against wrong. He thought soundly 
and wisely upon questions of expediency or of politi- 
cal economy, but they did not rouse him or bring him 
the absorbed interest of the eternal conflict between 
good and evil Yet he was never impractical, never 
blinded by counsels of perfection, never seeking to 
make the better the enemy of the good. He wished to 
get the best, but he would strive for all that was pos- 
sible even if it fell short of the highest at which he 
aimed. He studied the lessons of history, and did not 
think the past bad simply because it was the past, or 
the new good solely because it was new. He sought 
to try all questions on their intrinsic merits, and that 
was why he succeeded in advancing, in making gov- 
ernment and society better, where others, who would 
be content with nothing less than an abstract perfec- 
tion, failed. He would never compromise a principle, 
but he was eminently tolerant of honest differences 
of opinion. He never hesitated to give generous credit 
where credit seemed due, whether to friend or oppo 
nent, and in this way he gathered recruits and yet 
never lost adherents. 

The criticism most commonly made upon Theo- 
dore Roosevelt was that he was impulsive and impetU 
ous; that he acted without thinking. He would have 
been the last to claim infallibility. His head did not 
turn when fame came to him and choruses of admi- 
ration sounded in his ears, for he was neither vain nor 
credulous. He knew that he made mistakes, and never 
hesitated to admit them to be mistakes and to correct 
them or put them behind him when satisfied that they 
were such. But he wasted no time in mourning, ex- 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 37 

plaining, or vainly regretting them. It is also true that 
the middle way did not attract him. He was apt to go 
far, both in praise and censure, although nobody could 
analyze qualities and balance them justly in judging 
men better than he. He felt strongly, and as he had 
no concealments of any kind, he expressed himself in 
like manner. But vehemence is not violence, nor is 
earnestness anger, which a very wise man defined as a 
brief madness. It was all according to his nature, just 
as his eager cordiality in meeting men and women, his 
keen interest in other people s cares or joys, was not 
assumed, as some persons thought who did not know 
him. It was all profoundly natural, it was all real, and 
in that way and in no other was he able to meet and 
greet his fellow men. He spoke out with the most un^ 
restrained frankness at all times and in all companies. 
Not a day passed in the Presidency when he was not 
guilty of what the trained diplomatist would call in-* 
discretions. But the frankness had its own reward. 
There never was a President whose confidence was so 
respected or with whom the barriers of honor which 
surround private conversation were more scrupulously 
observed. At the same time, when the public interest 
required, no man could be more wisely reticent. He 
was apt, it is true, to act suddenly and decisively, but 
it was a complete mistake to suppose that he there^ 
fore acted without thought or merely on a momentary 
impulse. When he had made up his mind he was re^ 
solute and unchanging, but he made up his mind only 
after much reflection, and there never has been a Presi^ 
dent in the White House who consulted not only 
friends but political opponents and men of all kinds 



3 8 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

and conditions more than Theodore Roosevelt. \Vhen 
he had reached his conclusion he acted quickly and 
drove hard at his object, and this it was, probably, 
which gave an impression that he acted sometimes 
hastily and thoughtlessly, which was a complete mis- 
apprehension of the man. His action was emphatic, 
but emphasis implies reflection not thoughtlessness. 
One cannot even emphasize a word without a process, 
however slight, of mental differentiation. 

The feeling that he was impetuous and impulsive 
was also due to the fact that in a sudden, seemingly 
unexpected crisis he would act with great rapidity. 
This happened when he had been for weeks, perhaps 
for months, considering what he should do if such a 
crisis arose. He always believed that one of the most 
important elements of success, whether in public or 
in private life, was to know what one meant to do 
under given circumstances. If he saw the possibility 
of perilous questions arising, it was his practice to 
think over carefully just how he would act under cer 
tain contingencies. Many of the contingencies never 
arose. Now and then a contingency became an ac- 
tuality, and then he was ready. He knew what he 
meant to do, he acted at once, and some critics con 
sidered him impetuous, impulsive, and, therefore, 
dangerous, because they did not know that he had 
thought the question all out beforehand. 

Very many people, powerful elements in the com 
munity, regarded him at one time as a dangerous rad 
ical, bent upon overthrowing all the safeguards of so 
ciety and planning to tear out the foundations of an 
ordered liberty. As a matter of fact, what Theodore 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 39 

Roosevelt was trying to do was to strengthen Arner^ 
ican society and American government by demon^ 
strating to the American people that he was aiming 
at a larger economic equality and a more generous in> 
dustrial opportunity for all men, and that any com^ 
bination of capital or of business, which threatened 
the control of the Government by the people who made 
it, was to be curbed and resisted, just as he would have 
resisted an enemy who tried to take possession of the 
city of Washington. He had no hostility to a man be^ 
cause he had been successful in business or because he 
had accumulated a fortune. If the man had been hon> 
estly successful and used his fortune wisely and be^ 
neficently, he was regarded by Theodore Roosevelt as 
a good citizen. The vulgar hatred of wealth found no 
place in his heart. He had but one standard, one test, 
and that was whether a man, rich or poor, was an hon^ 
est man, a good citizen, and a good American. He 
tried men, whether they were men of" big business" 
or members of a labor union, by their deeds, and in 
no other way. The tyranny of anarchy and disorder, 
such as is now desolating Russia, was as hateful to 
him as any other tyranny, whether it came from an 
autocratic system like that of Germany or from the 
misuse of organized capital. Personally he believed in 
every man earning his own living, and he earned mon^ 
ey and was glad to do so; but he had no desire or taste 
for making money, and he was entirely indifferent to 
it. The simplest of men in his own habits, the only 
thing he really would have liked to have done with 
ample wealth would have been to give freely to the 
many good objects which continually interested him. 



40 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

Theodore Roosevelt s power, however, and the 
main source of all his achievement, was not in the of 
flees which he held, for those offices were to him only 
opportunities, but in the extraordinary hold which he 
established and retained over great bodies of men. He 
had the largest personal following ever attained by any 
man in our history. I do not mean by this the follow^ 
ing which comes from great political office or from 
party candidacy. There have been many men who 
have held the highest offices in our history by the votes 
of their fellow countrymen who have never had any^ 
thing more than a very small personal following. By 
personal following is meant here that which supports 
and sustains and goes with a man simply because he 
is himself; a following which does not care whether 
their leader and chief is in office or out of office, which 
is with him and behind him because they, one and all, 
believe in him and love him and are ready to stand by 
him for the sole and simple reason that they have per^ 
feet faith that he will lead them where they wish and 
where they ought to go. This following Theodore 
Roosevelt had, as I have said, in a larger degree than 
any one in our history, and the fact that he had it and 
what he did with it for the welfare of his fellow men 
have given him his great place and his lasting fame. 

This is not mere assertion ; it was demonstrated, as 
I have already pointed out, by the vote of 1 9 1 2, and 
at all times, from the day of his accession to the Presi 
dency onward, there were millions of people in this 
country ready to follow Theodore Roosevelt and vote 
for him, or do anything else that he wanted, whenever 
he demanded their support or raised his standard. It 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 4,1 

was this great mass of support among the people, and 
which probably was never larger than in these last 
years, that gave him his immense influence upon pub 
lic opinion, and public opinion was the weapon which 
he used to carry out all the policies which he wished to 
bring to fulfilment and to consolidate all the achieve- 
ments upon which he had set his heart. This extraor 
dinary popular strength was not given to him solely 
because the people knew him to be honest and brave, 
because they were certain that physical fear was an 
emotion unknown to him, and that his moral courage 
equalled the physical. It was not merely because they 
thoroughly believed him to be sincere. All this knowl 
edge and belief, of course, went to making his popular 
leadership secure; but there was much more in it than 
that, something that went deeper, basic elements which 
were not upon the surface which were due to qualities 
of temperament interwoven with his very being, in 
separable from him and yet subtle rather than obvi 
ous in their effects. 

All men admire courage, and that he possessed in 
the highest degree. But he had also something larger 
and rarer than courage, in the ordinary acceptation of 
the word. \Vhen an assassin shot him at Milwaukee 
he was severely wounded ; how severely he could not 
tell, but it might well have been mortal. He went on 
to the great meeting awaiting him and there, bleed 
ing, suffering, ignorant of his fate, but still uncon- 
quered, made his speech and went from the stage to 
the hospital. What bore him up was the dauntless 
spirit which could rise victorious over pain and dark 
ness and the unknown and meet the duty of the hour 



42 THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

as if all were well. A spirit like this awakens in all men 
more than admiration, it kindles affection and appeals 
to every generous impulse. 

Very different, but equally compelling, was another 
quality. There is nothing in human beings at once so 
sane and so sympathetic as a sense of humor. This great 
gift the good fairies conferred upon Theodore Roose^ 
velt at his birth in unstinted measure. No man ever had 
a more abundant sense of humor joyous, irrepressi^ 
ble humor and it never deserted him. Even at the 
most serious and even perilous moments if there was a 
gleam of humor anywhere he saw it and rejoiced and 
helped himself with it over the rough places and in 
the dark hour. He loved fun, loved to joke and chaff, 
and, what is more uncommon, greatly enjoyed being 
chaffed himself. His ready smile and contagious laugh 
made countless friends and saved him from many 
an enmity. Even more generally effective than his hu^ 
mor, and yet allied to it, was the universal knowledge 
that Roosevelt had no secrets from the American peo 
pie. 

Yet another quality perhaps the most engaging 
of all was his homely, generous humanity which 
enabled him to speak directly to the primitive instincts 
of man. 

He dwelt with the tribes of the marsh and moor, 

He sate at the board of kings; 
He tasted the toil of the burdened slave 

And the joy that triumph brings. 
But whether to jungle or palace hall 

Or white-walled tent he came, 
He was brother to king and soldier and slave, 

His welcome w~as the same. 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 43 

He was very human and intensely American, and 
this knit a bond bet ween him and the American people 
which nothing could ever break. And then he had yet 
one more attraction, not so impressive, perhaps, as the 
others,but none the less very important and very cap ti^ 
vating. He never by any chance bored the American 
people. They might laugh at him or laugh with him, 
they might like what he said or dislike it, they might 
agree with him or disagree with him, but they were 
never wearied of him, and he never failed to interest 
them. He was never heavy, laborious, or dull. If he had 
made any effort to be always interesting and entertain^ 
ing he would have failed and been tiresome. He was 
unfailingly attractive, because he was always per^ 
fectly natural and his own unconscious self. And so all 
these things combined to give him his hold upon the 
American people, not only upon their minds, but upon 
their hearts and their instincts, which nothing could 
ever weaken, and which made him one of the most re^ 
markable, as he was one of the strongest, characters that 
the history of popular government can show. He was 
also and this is very revealing and explanatory, too, 
of his vast popularity a man of ideals. He did not ex^ 
pose them daily on the roadside with language flutter^ 
ing about them like the Thibetan who ties his slip of 
paper to the prayer wheel whirling in the wind. He 
kept his ideals to himself until the hour of fulfilment 
arrived. Some of them were the dreams of boyhood, 
from which he never departed, and which I have seen 
him carry out shyly and yet thoroughly and with in^ 
tense personal satisfaction. 

He had a touch of the knight errant in his daily 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

life, although he would never have admitted it; but it 
was there. It was not visible in the mediaeval form of 
shining armor and dazzling tournaments, but in the 
never-ceasing effort to help the poor and the oppressed, 
to defend and protect women and children, to right 
the wronged and succor the downtrodden. Passing by 
on the other side was not a mode of travel through 
life ever possible to him; andyet he was as far distant 
from the professional philanthropist as could well be 
imagined, for all he tried to do to help his fellow men he 
regarded as part of the day s work to be done and not 
talked about. No man ever prized sentiment or hated 
sentimentality more than he. He preached unceas 
ingly the familiar morals which lie at the foundation 
of both family and public life. The blood of some an 
cestral Scotch covenanter or of some Dutch reformed 
preacher facing the tyranny of Philip of Spain was in 
his veins, and with his large opportunities and his vast 
audiences he was always ready to appeal for justice and 
righteousness. But his own personal ideals he never 
attempted to thrust upon the world until the day came 
when they were to be translated into the realities of 
action. 

\Vhen the future historian traces Theodore Roose 
velt s extraordinary career he will find these embodied 
ideals planted like milestones along the road over which 
he marched. They never left him. His ideal of public 
service was to be found in his life, and as his life drew 
to its close he had to meet his ideal of sacrifice face to face. 
All his sons went from him to the war, and one was 
killed upon the field of honor. Of all the ideals that lift 
men up, the hardest to fulfil is the ideal of sacrifice. 



THEODORE ROOSEVELT 45 

Theodore Roosevelt met it as he had all others and fiiL 
filled it to the last jot of its terrible demands. His coun 
try asked the sacrifice and he gave it with solemn pride 
and uncomplaining lips. 

This is not theplace to speak of his private life, but 
within that sacred circle no man was ever more blessed 
in the utter devotion of a noble wife and the passionate 
love of his children. The absolute purity and beauty of 
his family life tell us why the pride and interest which 
his fellow countrymen felt in him were always touched 
with the warm light of love. In the home so dear to him, 
in his sleep, death came and 

So Valiant- for-Truth passed over and all the trumpets sounded 
for him on the other side. 







cipnerai *-i^ ****/ . 
UniveS of California I 

Berkeley 




L,D62A-30m-2, 71 
(P2 003slO)9412A-A-32 



LD 21A-50m-3, 62 
(C7097slO)476B 



General Library 

University of California 

Berkeley 



U.C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




CD5bDflfl211 



G?\J\ 



M134307 



THE UNIVERSITY OF CAUFORNIA LIBRARY